For many business leaders, the past few months have been a complete blur. It’s been an ongoing Groundhog Day. These are unforeseen times for all businesses and their employees. Regardless of enterprise size and industry, nearly every individual is experiencing change and disruption both personally and professionally.
While the full impact of COVID-19 remains to be seen, it’s likely that business will never return to business as usual. There have been significant learnings from the work from home period. Web conferencing tools are being employed to power company training, events and global town halls. Businesses have discovered that the need to travel or plan for in-person interaction is often no longer necessary, even once a vaccine emerges.
What is lacking in physical interactions is now being made up for in emotional support. Leading enterprises are creatively engaging their employees and customers by launching virtual events and campaigns around feelings of community and bonding. The shared experience of weathering this storm together and embracing the new normal is creating opportunities for businesses to thrive despite the ongoing disruption taking place.
The power of technology
Technology has been at the core of how today’s businesses are transforming themselves to stay relevant. Winning businesses are leading by keeping communication with their employees constant and creatively engaging customers with effective messaging.
It’s no surprise that video fatigue, recently coined ‘Zoom fatigue’, is a real issue affecting employees that enterprises must consider. The thought of having to join yet another video call and rely on spotty Wi-Fi can be exhausting.
Some enterprises are now utilizing captioning and interactive transcription tools within their video calls to allow employees to more effectively engage in their conference calls and conversations. These transcriptions can also help to provide a record of what was said in a meeting when the Wi-Fi cuts out or be used to relay notes so that not every team member needs to join every video call.
Piquing interest and attention
A recent article by Marketing Envy further explored this issue of fatigue, as well as noted the “Issue-Attention Cycle,” which is no new concept, as it was established in 1972. It classifies public interest in a specific topic and the stages of discovery all the way through to irrelevancy.
While the coronavirus is still incredibly relevant with the race to a vaccine and the ongoing rate of the virus’s spread, that doesn’t mean that employees and customers aren’t sick of hearing about it. It appears on every platform where they consume content and in every facet of their lives, even when they’re not actively seeking updates and information on it.
Enterprises therefore need to be more selective and careful about when and how they utilize ‘Corona-messaging,’ especially in the ways they market themselves and their offerings.
Changing up your company’s messaging both internally to employees and externally to customers is proving to be critical. It helps to keep attention spans, while engaging and relating to these audiences. As Marketing Envy’s article notes, currently, the marketing campaigns that are built on providing messaging focused on hope and inspiration will see more positive results, no pun intended.
Positive, clear messaging is helping to drown out the months of despair left by the virus. It’s helping customers want to engage with businesses who do see a way out of this. They want to invest in those who understand their needs rather than those who are capitalizing on the current climate in a way that is inauthentic.
Where should businesses go from here?
Creating videos with more cheerful — yet still authentic messaging that recognizes that these are trickier times — is a great place to start. Videos can be created to be shared both internally with employees, as well as externally with customers based on different objectives.
One simple way to increase engagement with your videos is to add captions to them. While more employees and customers are working from home, they’re often presented with times when they can’t play the audio of videos out loud. Either their spouse or roommates are also home working, there’s a baby that may be sleeping in the same room or they have time to kill when standing in long, socially distanced lines at grocery stores. Regardless, they’re in situations where they can’t always play the audio aloud.
Adding closed captioning capabilities to your videos will increase engagement and provide today’s video-fatigued audience with an additional method to consume your content effectively. Captions also help to address the needs of employees with disabilities and engage customers who are deaf or have hearing loss – over 5% of the world’s population.
Enterprises who are succeeding are those that are launching video and social campaigns, as well as virtual events, with both creative messaging and engaging captions. These companies are referencing the novel coronavirus only when it makes sense to, and they’re coming off authentically and building loyalty as a result.
Businesses are in a position to provide forums and build communities to show support to their employees and customers. These can include bringing in mental health coaches or launching shared projects, such as the ‘Partnership Against Cybercrime’ being spearheaded by the World Economic Forum.
Those who are enlisting effective messaging to steer people toward the light at the end of the corona tunnel, even if the flicker cannot yet be seen, will retain employees and gain new customers as a result.